Being PRESENT in His PRESENCE

DSC_2200I’ve been pondering distractions lately.  Watching people in stores, restaurants and at the pool or in cars and noticing how distractions divide our attention. Often the people we are with become second when we are distracted.

Statistics show traffic accidents on the rise as well as accidental deaths and injuries all  due to a “lack of focus”. My friend posted a sign they posted in the work place about personal cell phone usage because her employees were more focused on their phones than their customers.  In several instances employees playing a game on company time actually suffered accidental injuries in the workplace while they were rushing to capture a fictional creature.

My friend Beth was the victim of serious car accident due to a DSC_0248distracted driver who was texting.  Both legs and pelvis were broken and she spent days in the hospital and months recovering all because the other driver was distracted.

When parents are distracted often the kids pay the price for it.  I know how quickly a child can scamper when we are distracted by something.  As a young mom I thought the kids worked as a team.  One would distract me so the other could climb on the table or out the door.

DSC_0904Distractions cause our communication to suffer.  Trying to chat with my husband while he’s watching  Golf, is never productive. Striking up a conversation with me, when I’m proofreading or writing is also bound to result in frustration for both of us.

Many of our distractions are manmade and the result of choices we make. We choose to fill our boredom or our gaps with a distraction instead of allowing solitude or silence or focusing on what’s in front of us.  A man who makes his living in the tech industry and Google gaming sees the danger in distractions.

“I’d argue that what’s happening is that we’re becoming like the mal-formed weight lifter who trains only their upper body and has tiny little legs. We’re radically over-developing the parts of quick thinking, distractible brain and letting the long-form-thinking, creative, contemplative, solitude-seeking, thought-consolidating pieces of our brain atrophy by not using them. And, to me, that’s both sad and dangerous.” -Joe Kraus  Partner at Google Ventures.

One of the scary things about this quote is that it was mentioned in a speech he gave in 2012.  Four years ago.  Also frightening was his take on “solitude-seeking, thought consolidating pieces of our brains”.

Where do we find God?  What does the Bible say about seeking alone and quiet time with God?

DSC_0903“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)

 

I believe distractions are not only costing our personal relationships but also our heavenly ones.  Our Connection to the Creator is causing a shift in our spiritual lives as well.  It is more about the culture shaping us than us shaping the culture.

Are we missing messages and missions God has for us because we are too distracted to connect with him?

POINT TO PONDER: What can you do today that can help you to increase your quiet time with God and make it distraction free?

We will be discussing this during our Retreat “HOPE: An Anchor for your Soul” get details here: http://kissedbythecreator.com/?page_id=406

Catch us on #HOPEscope every Monday – Friday at 7:15am on www.periscope.tv  (search Connie P. Shoemaker or kissedbycreator)

Numbers…

I received a number today for a young man I’ve known since birth.  It broke my heart.  It was a prison number. I wept looking at the number after his name.  I thought of the significance of this number and what it meant in Jail and what it will mean moving forward.

I pray he lives beyond that number.  I’m praying prisonfor the number to become a memory.  Praying that number which represents a mess, will become part of his message.  This child I held as a baby, who grow up with my kids side by side, diverged and now  he isn’t a name, he’s a number….for this season.

What are numbers?  They are a symbol or word in a series  for identification.  For now, he will identify and be identified by this number.  But God calls him still by name.  God sees him as son, not number #31-68734.  His family still calls him by name but where he lives, they shout out his number.

450px-NumbersBookCover.svgNumbers play a major role in our lives.  From our chromosomes to our vertebrae to the number of bones in our hand and the muscles it takes to frown, our bodies are connected and identified by numbers.  Here in the United States we are issued a Social Security number at birth that is used for a variety of purposes like taxes, insurance and education, that number defines and unlocks information we need.

Phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers are all crucial to defining our communication with each other and our wealth.

 

Numbers are used in the bible from the 10 Commandments to the days 40 days of the floodBundesstraße_40_number.svg
and 40 days and 40 years in the wilderness and the 12 tribes of Judah…all of these events and issues defined by a number.

Numbers-Chapter-SummariesThere is even a book with the title “Numbers” in the Bible.  Ironically or perhaps not, the book of Numbers explains how Israel prepared to enter the promise land, but sinned and was punished. The title refers the two population censuses Moses took during that period.

There are four themes in Numbers.  The beginning depicts the preparation for the journey  to the Promised Land. The second portion talks about the Israelites travel and grumbling and how God continued to provide for them.  numbersThe third portion discusses their disobedience and severe punishment for being unfaithful to God. The final theme addresses the new generation and their victorious conquests, more disobedience and finally the entry into the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering in the desert.

The book of Numbers recounts God’s unfailing direction in the lives of his people. It shows the ways God tested their endurance and their faithfulness. Though they sinned, God remained faithful to guide them on their journey with the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day.  God never left them alone in the desert. He never ventured far from them in the wilderness.

barbed wireI pray this for number #31-68734.  May this wilderness experience be his NUMBERS moment.  May he come to see God and feel His faithfulness and sense a new direction in his life. My prayer is that if you are experiencing a Numbers moment, you to would feel God’s presence and recalculate your destination with HIS help.

 

POINT TO PONDER: Are you called by a number? Are you experiencing a Numbers Moment? Call on the Name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus.  Struggling? Turn it over.  Here’s some inspiration about God’s ability to take your Number and give you a name.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upLBLppWTj0

 

 

Living Water

100_3515Vibrant. Brilliant. We eagerly scoop up the luscious looking stones in various colors and put them into our treasure bag.  “Look at this one Mom,” Hannah shows me a brilliant red stone and Rachel carries over a green stone.

Back at the camper we reviewed our finds and empty the treasure bags filled by the lake. Now dry, the stones looked dull and drab.  Ordinary.  Having lost their luster, we couldn’t even tell which stone was whose.  They looked nothing like the treasures we eagerly picked up along the lakeshore.

Before frustration and disappointment totally set in, I grabbed a bottle of water and poured itLake Rocks over the rocks in my hand.  Once again, the colors burst forth like fireworks on a hot summer night.  In my hand I once again held the colorful treasure now restored.

What made the difference?  It was the water.  Devoid of water the stones look like nothing more than driveway stones worthy of a toss. The water made them appear alive and vibrant and something to be treasured.  Much like us.

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“Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” – John 7:38

It’s the Living Water or Christ in us that makes us appear vibrant and brings life into our souls.  It’s the Living Water that keeps us from leading a lackluster life. When we become parched, dry and distant from the Living Water, our spirit is rendered barren, and cracked.

Crevices are where things can hide or take root. Our spiritually dry fissures become places where the enemy can gain a foothold. These gaps take the form of looking the other way at sin, or justifying ungodly behavior. The dark dry places of our hearts are fertile ground for secrets and apathy.

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I 101_8292will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” – John 4:14

Immersing ourselves in the Living Water regularly is crucial to living a life that glorifies the Lord. When we are infused with His truth and His presence, our lives can’t help but reflect Him.  When we radiate His presence, people are attracted to HIM in us. His goodness and mercy and grace shine brightly in our lives.

We were drawn to the stones for their beauty.  It was their reflection in the water that caught our attention. Like the stones bathed in water lively sparkled and beckoned to us, a soul swathed in the Living Water becomes a beacon.

We weren’t made to be a lackluster, dry, stone that is cast aside or overlooked.  We shouldn’t want to be a treasure missed. We need to be saturated with His presence. We want to be a brilliant find, one that can point the seeker to the source of water that will never run dry.

POINT TO PONDER: What does your life currently reflect?  Are there places in your life that could benefit from a good dousing of Living Water?  Some creative ways to connect with your Creator were listed on the blog here:  Feel free to connect with me, I would love to share some ideas and encourage you.

Check out #HOPEscope the Weekday Show on www.periscope.tv at 7:15 am featuring quick devotion and prayer to start your day HIS Way!

 

5 ways to Creatively Connect with the Creator in Prayer

folded hands“Our Father who art in Heaven….”  I remember our nightly ritual, brushing teeth and bed time prayers with folded hands.  I knew the prayer by heart. I could offer it up in my sleep, and often said it as my Father carried me to bed.  As I got older, those words became more powerful and the practice of prayer more personal. I began to learn about the value of personal prayer.  Coming from a charismatic background I’d seen prayers for healings yield lengthened limbs, and bid diseases away.  I saw doors of opportunity open and relationships restored as a result of prayer.

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces

wonderful results.” (James 5:16b NLT)

Sometimes our prayer life can become routine or stale.  I felt like my prayers were becoming laundry lists of petitions lacking sincerity.  I decided to shake up my prayer life a little by reading some devotionals and old school prayer books and was blessed by how new the practice of prayer became.

Last Blog we discussed visual reminders to keep a focus on God’s presence, this blog I am going to share with you some things I’ve incorporated that keep me focused on prayer time and block out distractions

             My prayer beads were a gift from my ministry partner.  They are smooth and purple.

Prayer Beads

Prayer Beads

Sometimes I will just hold them as I pray each stone representing a different prayer of thanksgiving and I’ll go through them again with petitions…helps me balance my conversation with God. Sometimes I will just sit quietly and thumb through them allowing for silence for God to speak.

“The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.”

(Psalm 145:18)

Shower door prayer reminders

Shower door prayer reminders

2              I am known for writing the name on my hand of someone to pray for throughout the day. (YAY for Sharpies)  I also keep a dry erase pen in my bathroom to write on my mirror and shower door so that I can be prayerful while I am getting ready for work.  “A day hemmed in prayer is not likely to unravel” (Note: Do not confuse Sharpie w/dry erase. Much harder to get off mirror; lesson learned the hard way.)

“Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

             This past year, I have been making coloring part of my Sabbath.  I will sit on my

Coloring Book and pencils

Coloring Book and pencils

back porch with soft music playing and chose a picture, while I color it, I lift my prayers to God.  It makes prayers less rushed and more heartfelt. I find the contemplative quiet in between is so beneficial to the  “Listening” part of prayer.  It really is a two way conversation.

“Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part.” ~ Andrew Murray

Prayer Journaling

Prayer Journaling

4              Journaling prayers has always been a part of my life, but I had gotten away from keeping record of answered prayer. Answers are such an incentive and encouragement to our prayer lives.  The bible is full of answered prayers which show the Power of Prayer.  Journaling our prayers gives us a gentle reminder that the God who answered us back then….is the same God we are seeking today.

 

5              These prayer stones were stones I intentionally

Prayer Stones

Prayer Stones

picked up on Lake Erie several years ago.  I wrote topics on them in sharpie and set them in a basket. Throughout the day I would take one out and pray about that specific need and lay it on the table. At the end of the day the basket was empty and I had some great unstructured conversations with God.  Often I will leave a particular stone out to remind me  to pray about an issue that burdens me.   It prompts me to be a “Prayer WARRIOR and not a prayer WORRIER”

I am super excited about the movie coming out called WAR ROOM – it looks fabulous and is centered on prayer.  Check out the trailer here :  http://warroomthemovie.com/

Prayer is part of a Christian’s daily walk.  Prayer is connecting to the Creator.  You don’t get to know someone by only spending one hour a week with them. Talking with God daily will increase your faith and your connection to him.  We are called to pray without ceasing in Thessalonians 5:17.

My prayer is that you will find a method that works for you and that as you grow deeper in your relationship with the Savior; Prayer will become something you crave.

POINT TO PONDER:  What can you incorporate into your prayer life to make it more meaningful to you and to the Lord?

What is a tzitzit?

I was sharing with my #Periscope* devotion group #HOPEscope* about how I often use visual objects to keep me focused on God during the day, and during my prayer time.

This particular day we were discussing how he is our firm foundation.  I mentioned that HE is our Rock. The lyrics “On Christ the solid rock I stand” were playing in my head.  I showed them a rock I set out as I reminder of this truth. I mentioned the variety of other ways that a visual person, such as myself, can use items to represent truths and remind us of scripture.

Rocks represent the Christ who is the Rock on which I stand

Rocks represent the Christ who is the Rock on which I stand

Sometimes it takes something to pull our thoughts back to our Creator.  In my ministry I often leave the audience with a token, a book or a bookmark to help them remember what was shared. I’ve gotten emails from people  even years later who mention they still use the token to remind them of a particular truth.

For a visual person, images are extremely powerful in processing the world.  As a lover of Nature and the Creator, I often see the fingerprints of God where ever I look outside.  My heart longs for the sea constantly as I feel HIS presence so strongly there.  My connection to the Creator is both enhanced and strengthened by the visual.

God's thoughts of us outnumber the grains of Sand.  Psalm 139:17/18

God’s thoughts of us outnumber the grains of Sand.
Psalm 139:17/18

Today I was reading in Numbers 15:37-41

37 The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”

Even God saw that HIS people needed tangible reminders of his commandments or his words.

These reminders were called tzitzit [tsiˈtsit] the Hebrew name for specially knotted ritual 
fringes, or tassels, worn in antiquity by Israelites and today by observant Jews and Samaritans.  They were a tangible reminder ordained by God.

A collection of nature photos and verses.

A collection of nature photos and verses.

Now these were the same people who saw the seas parted and manna fall from heaven.  They “experienced” first hand (not just read about) intense miracles and blessings from the very hand of God.  They were first and second generation evacuees from Egypt…and yet…they forgot.  They got sidetracked from God and what he required.

God created us. He knows how we think. He knows how we can be distracted like the Israelites.  The world is a busy and noisy place and it causes us to be sidetracked much like the Israelites were.  If distractions were prevalent  back then before electricity and social media…flash forward.

POP up ads lure people into situations that are unholy. We have beeps/whistles/passwords and codes.  We are forced to remember so much other information that often what  God speaks to us gets shoved out or put aside.  While I have seen Social Media used for good and to positive ends, there is no denying that it can become a huge time waster and massive distraction.

It is prudent that as believers we utilize whatever means possible to remember the

Gifts from the sea inspire me

Gifts from the sea inspire me

commandments and promises of God. Having tangible reminders visible helps pull our focus back to our Creator.  It might mean setting our phone alarm to remind us to pray or study the word, or putting a Post-it note on our computer.  I don’t see many of us sewing tassels to our clothes. The word of God doesn’t change though our visual reminders might.

 

 

Sea Glass reminds me  that God can take Trash and make into treasure.

Sea Glass reminds me that God can take Trash and make into treasure.

39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”

The word consecration literally means “association with the sacred”.  I want to be associated with God how about you?

Next blog will be focusing on Prayer and Tangible ways we can stay focused or make it more meaningful!

POINT TO PONDER: What visual reminders speak to you about the awesomeness of God?

(*Periscope is app where my show #HOPEscope airs mornings after 7am and eves after 8pm I am over there at ” kissedbycreator “)

Hand crafted by God

 

It was Palm Sunday when the photo of my soon to be 21 son came onto my phone.  My eyes were drawn to Jacob’s hand. Attempt 2 at china photo The one that was boasting a thumbs up on a 12,000 foot peak. In China.  China?  How did my little boy go from lying on the floor and playing with Matchbox cars to a Man on top of a mountain half a world away.  How did his chubby little fingers turn into the strong man hand that found its way to China?~Time.

cross in palmEarlier that day, because it was Palm Sunday, I was contemplating the hands of Christ.  Now I know that Palm Sunday is really about the branches…from a palm tree.  But my wordsmith mind was busy juxtaposing the whole vine and branches and nails in the palm and what must it have been like for Mary.

Mary, the mother of Jesus and the first holder offolded hands Jesus’ hand.  Her son too found himself on top of a mountain.  I wonder what she thought. When she received Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh as baby gifts did it plant a seed of knowing or did the whole trajectory of Holy Week take her by surprise? Culminating by weeks end with the raw groaning pangs of seeing her little boy’s palms brutally pierced and bleeding.

Her boy was innocent.  He was falsely accused. Her hands were tied, his fate was in the hands of his Father. I can remember going to bat for my son when he was falsely accused and standing up for him in his defense.  Mary didn’t have that chance.

101_9456Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus which sent him to the cross.Palm Sunday forced my thoughts back to the hands.

God’s hand shaped and formed universe and he breathed life into all of humanity.

For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. ~ Isaiah 66:2

thorns

The hand of God punished.

“You who have forsaken Me,” declares the LORD, “You keep going backward So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting!” ~ Jeremiah 15:6


The hand of God saved and protected.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”~ Isaiah 41:10

His hands Healed.

Hands in fountain“Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” ~ Matthew 8:3

His hands offered proof.

“And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” ~ John 20:20

From His beginning and from ours we have been in the palm of His Hand.  He goes with us, he will never leave us.  He never lets go of us.  He was pierced for our transgressions.  He was falsely accused and willingly executed on our behalf.  When life becomes a handful, remember who is really holding it all together.

Point to Ponder:  Has there been a time when you truly felt the hand of God in your life? How did you know it? What did it feel like?

Leave a comment about how you knew and felt the hand of God guiding you.

Those who comment AND sign up on the email list (top right) will be considered for a drawing of a special Kissed by the Creator token crafted by the hand of God.  Totally Genuine and Nothing Artificially Added.  Prizes will be awarded on April 15th!

Enter Today!

 

Our God REIGNS…even when it rains!

Weather has always fascinated me.  Currently I am dealing with Rain…did you know?100_5401

1: Rain can fall up to 22 miles per hour.

2: One droplet of rain stays in Earth’s atmosphere for about 10 days.

3: Rain isn’t a teardrop shape,  it’s actually ovular.

4: Every second, 16 million tons of water is evaporated from the surface of Earth.

5: Every second, 16 million tons of water precipitates back onto Earths’ surface (Water Cycle!).

( according to: http://explainers.nysci.org/post/72706480434/5-facts-about-rain-you-probably-didnt-know-1)

IMG_2422Scripture is fraught with references to weather.  There is talk of clouds, sun, storms, rain, snow, lightening, thunder, and of course, the famous one…the flood.  This is one I can relate to currently as the water rises in my basement.  It’s a combination of snow melt and spring rains and a situation that started when our township forced residents make mandatory changes to our septic systems.

The process took all the solid matter like clay, and years of packed dirt out of our back yard and replaced it with new gravel and porous material along with slanting the back yard toward the house, much to our dismay.

Now this current flood is not as bad as ones we’ve had in the IMG_2449past or as destructive because we’ve somewhat prepared for it by storing items in plastic and raising things off the floor and adding second pump. However the clean up is daunting.  Drying out and taking precautions to prevent mold…its all so draining (no pun intended) but as I sit waiting for the waters to subside I think about the fact that Our God REIGNS…even when it rains.

This entire situation reminds me that when we lose the solid – the bedrock firmness of our faith…when we replace the solid truth with porous stuff that is easily moveable our faith becomes ripe for the flooding of the world into it. 

IMG_2391As the world seeps into the crevices we’ve allowed – often under the disguise of “tolerance” with the lies of “just this once” or “I won’t actually do it, just read about it” the leaking makes our truth dank, moldy and repulsive.

The foundations of our faith, just like the foundation of my house are vulnerable to penetration unless we are surrounded by a firm solid wall of protection.  Not only can our faith suffer, but our witness as well.

It’s hard not to get mired down in our soggy wet storms and take our eyes off the SON.  When we do that we are left with just soggy wet feet. Our trials or storms can lead us to grumble and complain which can breed bitterness if left unchecked.  If we keep our eyes on the Son ~ HE will give us the opportunity to turn our valleys into victories.

People are watching.  Unbelievers are watching.  Our children are watching how we navigate the flood waters.  Where is our higher ground?  What do we cling to as the waters swirl around us?  Will our actions encourage others to follow to where we’ve set our eyes?

IMG_2466Ironically or perhaps not I stumbled across this verse today:

The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever. ~ Psalm 29:10

Preparing for the flood starts in the heart. One of the ways we can stand firm as the water rises is to seek the LORD first.

As I listened to the rain and saw the water seeping in, despite two pumps working to keep it at bay, I had a choice.  I could let this destroy my attitude and my day or I could ask God to turn it into something that would bless others.

DSC_0090Hopefully this little “blessing” of a reality check will give you the incentive to check the walls around your faith.  How firm is your foundation?  Will it be ready when the flood waters come?

While writing, my playlist hit on this song by Jesus Culture:  Our God Reigns.  If your spirit is in need of a little revival you might want to take a moment, crank up the speakers and revel in the REIGN!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jpf7q4VnRU

Point to Ponder: Are you ready for the rain? How can you show God Reigning in your life to someone who is watching?



37 Degrees and Sunny

101_9325The other day I walked out of the house into a bright sunny day, surprised to see the temp in the car read 37.  Car was frosted over but the thought of a coat or jacket was far from my mind as the sun blinded my eyes.   My spirits were high and I felt ready to tackle the day.

Flashback to a week earlier it was 47 degrees and cloudy with a chance of rain and I was bundled up like a mummy wearing a turtleneck, a jacket and a coat!

Pondering the difference of that day and this, I realized it was all about the Sun.  ~ Have you noticed what a difference the sun makes?

DSC_1697

Recently I experienced a beloved friend transition from earth to heaven.  In observing the family surrounding her, I saw the ones walking in the SonShine – making plans to release her to Jesus.  They focused on her pain free life ahead and being grateful for each moment.  While others, seemingly remained cloudy in their acceptance of the inevitable and were unable to relinquish her into the heavenly realm.

DSC_2232Just like navigating a ship, plane or boat in the sunshine; there is a sense of clarity and a vision beyond the end of your vessel.  So too is operating in the SonShine.  There is a clarity and an abilty to think long term and a vision of how the Will of God is at work.

Operating a vessel in cloudy or foggy conditions, leaves room for error in judgment, mistakes and missed opportunities, operating your life away from the Son..yields the same misfortunes.

Are you facing a challenge? Are the Clouds too thick?  Let your forecast be for the Son to shine and  God to reign in
DSC_0881your life.  The Son can make all the difference.

Point to Ponder: What area of your life needs SONglasses?  How can you change what you are doing so that the Light of HIS wisdom mercy and grace can illuminate your cloudy situation?

 

 

 

 

Frozen : The Lenten Challenge

We drive through the crowded parking lot, mountains of gray snow at the edges hogging up much needed DSC_0277spaces.  Rachel says, “look at that disgusting snow its so gross and dirty. I am so ready for spring. I hate wearing coats, hats and gloves.” 

Quietly I pray for a new layer to cover up the gray.  White to cover the black.  It was Ash Wednesday. I thought of the significance.  It was the ashes on the plowed lot that made the snow mountains gray and dirty.  Ash mixed with winter white.

Our denomination doesn’t celebrate Ash Wednesday but my Methodist roots and the Catholic neighborhood I grew up in filled me with memories and meaning of what that day commemorates.  Like advent…it is a time of preparing our hearts.

It’s been a long winter here in Western PA.  I heard someone say the other day it had been a long winter in her heart. blog heart ice

Ironically one of the hit movies this year is called Frozen.  I pondered all these icy metaphors and thought about the cold heart.

DSC_0260Like the tiny shoots of grass and daffodils beneath the layer of snow, the cold heart harbors tiny invisible seeds of hope.  What does it take to melt a cold heart?

Love. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.

These are all things we can give or offer to someone who  is frozen

DSC_0275

 

People ask “What are you giving up for Lent?”  I ponder is it really about giving something up or pouring something out?   What if we use the 40 days to try to thaw the frozen hearts around us? Bathe their hearts in the warmth of mercy. If they are brittle from bitterness … foster them with forgiveness.  Love the lonely and wrap the stumbling with grace.  Take a 40 day challenge to thaw the frozen.  What will you give up for lent?  A bit of yourself?  A bit of your time?

Is your heart the one that is Frozen?  Are you chilled to your soul, unable to pray, seek or ask?  Are you wrestling with the ashy dirty feeling of sin, fear, or regret?  Are you brittle from reaching out and being rejected? Are the windows of your soul frosted up ~ blocking out the SON ?  Do you long to bathe in the warmth of … something…anything?

James 4:8  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Take a 40 day challenge to thaw your frozen heart. Write one thing each day that you are thankful for. Do one small kind gesture for someone else. A smile, open a door, … gratitude will help thaw the edges.

Comment to me or message me and I will commit to pray for you during lent. Let it go.  Allow God to resurrect your life before Easter Sunday.  Are you up for the challenge? Your Creator is waiting to make your story HIStory and your time of testing, your Testimony. Remember, you were worth dying for…that is what Easter is really all about.

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One of my favorite Easter Hymns: For Those Tears I Died.

You said You’d come and share all my sorrows,
You said You’d be there for all my tomorrows;
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised You came there to stay;
I just had to pray!

And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied;
I felt ev’ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I
died.”

Point to Ponder: Seek out the Frozen. Look in the mirror. Is your soul ready for spring?DSC_1006


 

 

 

I Forgot My Phone: missed by the creator?

The other day I was about 5 miles from home on a mission of a day full of errands.  I was at a stop light and I thought, “I should call my mom”.  I reached into my pocket for my cell phone.  I gasped, it was not there.  After frantically patting all of my pockets and a quick look into my purse, I realized my phone was at home.  I thought of going back, but the light turned green and I pressed on!

I was mad at myself as there were calls to make, people to connect with.  But then I decided to make the best of it and realized, I couldn’t be interrupted, asked for anything, or otherwise bugged.  So it freed me up to connect with my Creator all day without interruption.

It turned out to be the best day of errands in years.  Totally stress free and wonderful.  I didn’t forget one item on my list because of talking on the phone.  I didn’t have to hurry to get home to deal with something instead of completing all my errands.  I was at peace all day long.  I let people in front of me in line because by not being on the phone I was AWARE they had fewer items that I.  I struck up conversations with those around me because I was not distracted with a call or text while waiting in line.

When I thought of calling someone I prayed for them instead.  I prayed for many people that day. It was freeing physically and spiritually to leave the phone behind.  (Ironically the model name for my phone is EXULT)  I truly felt “missed by the creator” and he blessed me all day long.

DSC_2296Connecting with our creator is so crucial to our well being.  Our prayer life depends on the connection.  So much in our daily life interrupts that connection including our communication devices.  The techno-distractions of today rob us of time around the altar with God that Abraham, David, and Moses enjoyed.  I wonder how much God misses those intimate connections?

It is easy to hit LIKE or type the word “Praying” under a Facebook status that is requesting prayer…but do we REALLY pray?  We tweet prayer requests but do we tweet answered prayer?

I am not knocking technology because I have seen it initiate prayer, donations, help and support…but we need to be mindful NOT to let it become a distraction for true communication with our CREATOR.

OH and by the way…. I plan to leave my phone behind a lot more.  So if you are trying to reach me,  leave a message because I might just be busy talking to the Lord…perhaps it’s about you!

POINT TO PONDER:

Do you find yourself distracted by the contraptions that were supposed to make our lives easier or better?  If you lost electricity and internet do you think the quality time you spend with God would be different?  Would you consider a cyber Sabbath of sorts where you’d refrain from social media to reconnect with your Creator?  If so, why or why not?

 

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